History

Zen Master Seung Sahn first came to the West in 1972, where he established the Providence Zen Center in Rhode Island (United States). Other American Zen centers quickly developed and, in 1983, these centers came together as the Kwan Um School of Zen.

In 1978, Zen Master Seung Sahn began traveling to Europe and new Zen centers quickly appeared in Poland and other countries. He also traveled regularly to Asia and introduced many Western students to the traditional Korean Zen retreats known as kyol che, or “tight dharma.” These 90-day retreats have been a central aspect of Korean Zen for over 1,000 years.

Today, the Kwan Um School of Zen has centers on every continent and over 35 authorized Zen masters (Soen Sa’s) and Dharma masters (Ji Do Poep Sa’s). Zen Master Seung Sahn died in 2004.